Few rabbis and Jewish scholars became part of legends of non-Jewish people. But one, Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel who lived in Prague at the turn of the 17th century, has long been part of a Czech national legend which describes the creation of the mythical Golem. The Jewish Museum in Prague has staged an exhibition at Prague Castle to commemorate the life of the great rabbi.
Matthew Stillman is the boss of the Czech Republic’s biggest production company for foreign films, Stillking Films. It has produced some of the blockbusters that have tapped into Czech skills and locations over the last 15 years. At his main office in the heart of Prague’s Barrandov Studios, I asked Mr Stillman how he came to the Czech capital in the first place.
Iva Bittová is a phenomenon in contemporary Czech music – the avant-garde violinist, singer and composer has developed a music style all her own, blending the music of many cultures into what she terms her "personal folk music“ and drawing deeply on her emotions and the sounds of nature. Her vocal utterances range from traditional singing to chirping, moaning, yelps and deep throat noises that keep audiences mesmerized. Her style is not easily defined but perhaps one of the most accurate comments made about her is that she brings the human voice
Today in Mailbox: we find out the answer to the July competition question and announce its winners. We quote from the answers by the following listeners: Hans Verner Lollike, Colin Preston, Debakamal Hazarika, Jayanta Chakrabarty, Colin Law, Constantin Liviu Viorel, S. J. Agboola, Tracy Andreotti, Henrik Klemetz, David Eldridge, Charles Konecny.
Instead of vespers, it was bands such as Health and Final Fantasy’s music reverberating around Kutná Hora’s Jesuit College on Thursday evening. Over the next couple of days, the building, its spires and courtyard, will be playing host to an impressive selection of alternative bands from around the world, all in the name of the Creepy Teepee music festival. Štěpán Bolf is one of its organizers:
The 2006 James Bond remake Casino Royale is becoming an endangered species. The film was mainly shot at Prague’s famous Barrandov studios and used Prague and Karlovy Vary as a backdrop for many scenes. But Casino Royale is one of a dwindling number of blockbusters which have recently come to the Czech Republic. Revenues from foreign films have tumbled in recent years. That has put the spotlight on whether the government should fall into line with other countries and provide incentives for bringing them back.
Jan’s guest in One on One is the world-famous conductor and composer Carl Davis. Mr Davis, who has composed hundreds of scores for TV and film, recently appeared in Prague to conduct the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. Jan caught up with the conductor at Prague’s Obecní Dům to discuss his remarkable career as well as Czech connections: writing the scores for films like the French Lieutenant’s Woman and series like The World at War. The first thing he asked Carl Davis about was whether he knew early on that film and television would play such
Clever. Just when you thought you’d seen everything, someone else comes up with a new neat trick. What am I talking about? How three Czech fans got on stage not long ago with the Irish rock group U2. In the front rows of a packed stadium in Berlin, they held up signs saying they knew how to play one of U2’s songs. And it worked: the trio got invited up. But the real trick wasn’t getting on stage, as unlikely as that was. That was the easy part! No, it was the performing that must have really been tough.
There is a very long and rich Czech tradition of children’s book illustration – from Mikoláš Aleš in the 19th century to Zdeněk Miler (of Mole fame) and Jiří Trnka in the twentieth century. In fact, the first picture book for children in Europe was produced by the Czech educator Comenius in the 17th century. An important part of this tradition is the illustrator Štěpán Zavřel (b.1932), a charismatic and influential artist who escaped to Italy from communist Czechoslovakia in 1959 and established the biggest centre for children’s book illustration
The new director of the Czech Philharmonic is Vladimír Darjanin. Already within his first month in the post, Mr Darjanin is ringing some considerable changes. Upon taking over on July 1, the straight-talking Mr Darjanin said he believed the reputation of a world-class orchestra lay in tatters, and that he was the man to fix it. When I met him recently in his office in Prague’s Rudolfinum concert hall, he outlined his plans: